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Spurious liquor claims 4

Ranchi, Jan. 3: Four persons, including three of a family, died after consuming spurious liquor in a Silli village, some 55km from the capital, in the small hours today. A fifth is admitted to hospital.

According to villagers of Goradih, timber trader Baliram Rajwar organised a New Year get-together at his house yesterday evening. He bought liquor, reportedly from Tulin in Bengal, for the celebrations. Neighbour Dhananjay Bedia (45), his two sons — Mahesh Bedia (25) and Naresh Bedia (20) — all three labourers, and Dhananjay’s nephew Ganesh were among the invitees.

The group of revellers, which also included Baliram’s mother Lakhmani Devi (50), drank the liquor and followed it up with a meal of rice and chicken before they parted for a good night’s sleep.

“Dhananjay was the first to succumb to liquor poisoning around 2am. Naresh and Lakhmani, who died at her own house, followed him. Mahesh was rushed to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), but failed to respond to treatment,” said Sunsai Bedia, a resident of Goradih.

Ganesh, currently admitted to RIMS, said he survived because he had had little liquor while Baliram did not drink. “I drank only two pegs, but the others had several,” he said, adding that the liquor was not branded and might have been brewed by villagers themselves.

Ranchi district excise inspector Ramadhar Sharma expressed his ignorance about the incident when contacted around 4.30pm today. He said he was in Khunti on an official tour and added: “No one has informed me yet. Let me check first. I will comment on the matter later. Selling spurious liquor is a crime.”

However, officer in charge of Silli police station K.K. Jha confirmed the deaths and said the liquor was brought from Tulin in Bengal. An FIR has been registered and a police team has been sent out to Tulin for investigations, he added.

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